Bikes, cars, trains, ferries: Planning is ongoing, says Bourne leader.
Aug 02, 2023
BUZZARDS BAY — Select Board member Judith Froman of North Sagamore said goodbye "for now" on May 9, in subdued fashion, saying her departure after two three-year terms was bittersweet but that her executive-level experience was "worthwhile." Her governmental tenure, however, is not over.
Froman remains the Upper Cape representative to the 11-member Cape Cod Metropolitan Planning Organization through December. She was elected to the influential panel by Select Board members in the four Upper Cape towns. She established herself as one to dive into issues with research and outreach.
She said in a recent email that she'd like to integrate regional transportation planning with Cape Cod Canal bridge replacement planning by the end of December.
"Judy's been an excellent MPO member with lots of projects flowing through its review," Bourne Select Board member Peter Meier said in a May 12 interview. "She does her homework. She digs in. Looks at everything. She doesn't let up."
Froman chose not to seek a third term on the Select Board.
The Select Board in Bourne needs to discuss who it might nominate for the next representative come 2024, Meier said.
Froman may serve on the regional panel until Dec. 31, after which Upper Cape Select Boards will nominate replacements for an ultimate election, according to Cape Cod Commission Communications Manager Sarah Colvin in an email. The election for the next three-year term will occur in the fall, and the specific process and dates for the election will be reviewed and approved at a June meeting of the regional panel, Colvin said.
The Cape Cod regional panel is divided into four sub-regions, based on geography. As a whole, the panel oversees regional transportation planning and recommends distribution of transportation funds in Barnstable County. It is chaired by Gina Fiandaca, the state Department of Transportation Secretary.
The Cape Cod Joint Transportation Committee is an advisory group to the regional transportation panel. The committee reviews, discusses, and votes on recommendations to the regional panel. Bourne Public Works Director Shawn Patterson is a member of the advisory group.
Upper Cape projects as of May 22 included in the draft transportation improvement program — known as TIP — for federal fiscal year 2024 to 2028 include in Sandwich the Quaker Meetinghouse Road bridge over Route 6 for 2024; in Bourne, a rail trail bike path, first phase, for 2025; also in Bourne, a Route 6, Scenic Highway median installation for 2025, and also re-surfacing and related work on Route 28 in 2028; and in Falmouth, resurfacing and related work on Route 28 for 2028.
In total, across the Cape, the fiscal year 2024-28 transportation improvement planning includes over $430 million in funded projects.
The rail trail design future in the second, third and fourth phases remains a political talking point given the $20 million in COVID-19 federal relief funds that Gov. Maura Healey may or may not direct to the state Department of Transportation for removing railroad tracks along the Buzzards Bay shoreline.
But Mass Coastal Railroad opposes a "rip up the tracks" bike trail construction idea. The unexpended COVID-19 relief funds may possibly fall victim to federal spending cuts and debt-limit talks in Washington, Select Board member Peter Meier said on May 29.
Another proposal that has been in-and-out of the state transportation pipeline is the Route 6 median installations along the heavily-traveled roadway north of the Cape Cod Canal, discussed in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Froman, in terms of that proposal, says there must be a champion to move projects forward, and that they must be involved in the long haul. The Cape Cod Joint Transportation Committee is actively involved with advising the regional panel, she said. The Cape Cod Commission, she added, does research and analyzes data used in developing rating systems and priorities.
"The ongoing updated research as well as the ever-changing town leadership influences the annual review and preparation of the five-year TIP plans," Froman said. "I am confident that in the 1970s and 1980s there was no county and state/federal framework that currently exists."
This is the time plans for specific project spending - for vehicles, bicycles, trains, transit and ferries - are reviewed and put into place for the federal fiscal year that starts in October, Froman said.
"Part of the planning looks at major congestion areas and ways to improve the movement of people. It is my hope to integrate regional planning together with canal bridge replacement planning before Dec. 31."
She said there are numerous factors that are reviewed when transportation proposals reach the project phase and climb to placement on the transportation improvement program list, the TIP list.
"In most cases, it takes at least a couple years to even be considered for the five-year TIP," she said. "Safety and readiness are just a couple of the factors."
Some recommendations come from local municipalities, others from the regional planning, and others strictly through the state Department of Transportation, she said.
Froman emphasized that the regional transportation panel planning and the transportation improvement program listing do not play a part in plans to replace the Sagamore and Bourne bridges.
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